Do you reside in the center of your world? Is that maybe where your children live? Or your husband or wife? Or maybe jobs or hobbies? As I learn through the eyes of the little children for whom I care each day, I find myself left with not a single doubt about who is the center of the world for each one of them! THEY are. Not mommy or daddy, or nana or papa, just their own little sinful selves :).
They aren’t really so different from me–just more open and honest about it. I came across this one day, and had to laugh at the truths:
1. If I like it, it’s mine.
2. If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.
4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
5. If it’s mine, it must NEVER appear to be yours
in any way.
6. If I’m doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
7. If it looks just like mine, it is mine.
8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.
9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.
Toddlers, by development and definition, are self-centered. They do not yet understand gray areas, temporary time shifts in ownership, that it is actually more FUN to share toys and play in a harmonious little group as ANGELS. No, the majority of my day is spent encouraging that sharing, enjoyment with friends and just not killing each other over the blue cup or red lego or the blue tricycle instead of the red one. Some days, it feels like they will never learn that it’s ok not to be first. Sometimes the first one just happens to fall down and skin knees trying to beat everyone out the door.
It isn’t just children who suffer from ME-itis: check out Mark 10:35-45:
Then Zebedee’s two sons James and John approached him, saying “Master, we want you to grant us a special request.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” answered Jesus.
“Give us permission to sit one on each side of you in the glory of your kingdom!”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I have to drink? Can you go through the baptism I have to bear?”
“Yes, we can,” they replied. Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink the cup I am drinking, and you will undergo the baptism which I have to bear! But as for sitting on either side of me, that is not for me to give—such places belong to those for whom they are intended.”
When the other ten heard about this, they began to be highly indignant with James and John; so Jesus called them all to him, and said, “You know that the so-called rulers in the heathen world lord it over them, and their great men have absolute power. But it must not be so among you. No, whoever among you wants to be great must become the servant of you all, and if he wants to be first among you he must be the slave of all men! For the Son of Man himself has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life to set many others free.”
I have to be honest–there are a lot of times that I really want that special spot reserved just for me–to be the important person, getting all the recognition. I have that same disease that the little guys have–and even some of the disciples of Jesus had the same illness–that is about as much fun to share as PINK EYE. Yuck. Can you imagine how foolish James and John felt after making their request to Jesus and then seeing the reactions of their fellow disciples?
This all reminds me of the scene in “The Patriot” when the villager, while in the village church with his neighbors, sold out Ben Martin’s family to the British. He DIED right next to his neighbors, knowing that in that moment of opportunity for strength and true martyrdom, he blew it. Just imagine those last moments of his life? Gives me goosebumps when I think about it.
There is nothing wrong with being last, or second or a servant. Quite honestly, it can be quite humbling being a servant, yet that is exactly what Jesus has called us to be. Servants.
“…whoever among you wants to be great must become the servant of you all, and if he wants to be first among you he must be the slave of all men! For the Son of Man himself has not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life to set many others free!”